'True Blood' star Stephen Moyer: What's On My iPod
The courtly True Blood vamp, who’s expecting twins with costar Anna Paquin, will also do double duty on the show, directing his first episode July 29.
But when he’s not fighting for Sookie and the fate of the empire, Moyer spends his time listening to raspy-voiced troubadours, genteel indie folkies, and bath-time anthems. Check out what the British actor likes to jam out to below:
STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS “One of the things I always end up going back to is Pavement, ultimately, but more recently it’s been Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, who are huge. I’ve followed Stephen Malkmus since Pavement was starting out. And you know, they weren’t massive in the U.K., but they were certainly present, and they were a huge influence on me at that time. And I love the new band. Their new album [Mirror Traffic] was produced by Beck.
I remember being at the Hollywood Bowl watching Pavement on their reunion tour, and Beck was sitting behind us. And I was like, ‘Why’s Beck here? There must be a link here,’ because we were surrounded by basically the band’s family. So I went home and obsessively Googled and then found that Beck was producing the new Jicks album, Mirror Traffic, from which I absolutely adore ‘Tigers.’ I like that album, but the one I keep going back to is Real Emotional Trash — especially its title track. It’s one of those ten- or eleven-minute long songs that’s perfect for those journeys to the grocery store. I like songs that fill the entire time [laughs]. So that’s my first choice, I’d say, also because it goes from slow to pure wigging out.”
TOM WAITS “He is my ultimate hero. I’ve actually walked up to him before this one time when I was in London. I literally dribbled in front of him, and he thought it was really sweet. I think he recognized me — I think the people he was with kind of let him know that I was from HBO or whatever — so I wasn’t just a dribbling fan, but a famous dribbling fan. Waits is one of those people that, on any given day, I’ll be obsessed with a given song.
The very first thing that turned me on to him was ‘Tango Till They’re Sore’ from Rain Dogs. I remember being at home, and I think I was about 14 or 15, and there it was. That song just literally changed how I saw music could be, from instead of just an entertainment you could play in the background to something you’re utterly immersed in. And then I just went and got every single thing of his that I could possibly buy.”
[When asked if he’s seen Down by Law] Oh, I’ve seen everything. It’s funny, because he is the person who makes Dracula for me. That little tiny cameo is extraordinary. Also, I play very rudimentary piano, and there’s a couple of little Tom Waits-ian numbers that I always repeat because, you know, I haven’t got any imagination [laughs]. And, you know, Swordfish Trombone is that turning point in his career — that’s probably the album that I go back to the most out of everything I own. I saw him play London after he hadn’t played for like twenty years, and he came and did one night. It was just one of those amazing nights that I’m so pleased I managed to go to I paid a fortune for the ticket, and happily would have paid thousands more.”
MIDLAKE “I love the modern, new-wave folky song that’s around. That would be everybody from the Fleet Foxes to Mumford to Kurt Vile, Bon Iver. Huge fan of that sound. Like this early Midlake song, ‘Marion,’ that I really love. Ultimately for me, it comes down to vocals — all the vocalists from those bands I named have very plaintive-sounding vocals, and that song is just haunting.”
FLEET FOXES “Me and my kids, when that first Fleet Floxes album came out, literally learned the lyrics to ‘White Winter Hymnal’ within three listens. We’d drive along the countryside in England with the windows down — I bought a Land Rover so that the three of us, me and the two kids [son Billy, 11, and daughter Lilac, 10, from previous relationships], could all sit in the front in the bench seat — and we’d all be singing this a capella, harmonizing when the kids were like 6 and 8.”
TINY RUINS “There’s an English singer called Tiny Ruins with a song ‘Old as the Hills,’ and it’s again that sort of plaintive, slightly melancholic folky vocal — folky vocal, folky vocal [laughs] — that I absolutely love. It makes me sound like a rampant sentimentalist or some sort of poetic type, but I love it. That song is just this sweet, evocative, plaintive ballad, and it calls up the British countryside for me somehow. I don’t know what it is about it, but it comes on and I become English immediately — it’s England.”
ELBOW “Love them. It’s interesting, they’re very much old-dad rock. I only say that because they’re the same age as me, they’re late-thirties/early-forties, and they’re still making really interesting, melodic, complex three-minute rock songs. They have a particular song called ‘Starlings.’ It’s just this extraordinary, melodic, strange song. He kind of tries to get you to wander in, like he’s trying to reel you with this, like, xylophone or glockenspiel at the beginning. It makes you kind turn it up.
I always shove this song down peoples’ throats because I adore it so much, but I always have to warn them of this trumpet that blares in. Because you want to turn it up as loud as the stereo will go so that you can hear exactly what he’s doing in the beginning, but he wants you to do that, because the intent’s to blow your head off when the trumpet blares in as you get closer and closer. It’s like a kid with a foghorn running into a flock of starlings or seagulls, and watching them scatter. And it’s all about his love for this girl that he’s met at this store he goes into.
There’s one lyric I adore: ‘You are the only thing in any room that you’re ever in/I’m stubborn, selfish, and just too old.’ It’s just beautiful. And then he says ‘So yes, I guess I’m asking you/To back a horse that’s good for glue and nothing else/But find a man that’s truer than/Find a man that needs you more than I.’ I love it, it’s just so evocative. You need to listen to this song. F—ing brilliant.”
P.J. HARVEY “Someone who’s always with me is P.J. Harvey. Just fantastic. One of her songs that I just can’t stop listening to is ‘We Float’ from Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea. Ugh, it’s just f—ing great. There’s this sexy undercurrent of the album, which is basically set in New York. I think it’s a masterpiece, and that song particularly is always kind of going on in the back of my head.”
THE REAL TUESDAY WELD “And there’s this British dude called Stephen Coates. He’s a D.J. who goes by the Real Tuesday Weld. There’s a song by him called ‘Bath Time in Clarkenwell.’ It’s crazy, it sounds like a man singing underwater. It’s this hilarious, fun, brilliant, comedic, D.J.’d, mixed together track. It became a bathtime track for the kids to get them into the tub. When you listen to it, you just want to get in the bath. So it became a good way of getting them in [laughs]. It always works. And also the fact the band’s called the Real Tuesday Weld, you just can’t go wrong.”
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Stephen Moyer’s True Blood directorial debut will air this Sunday, July 29, not Sunday, Aug. 5.
Sookie, Bill, Eric, Lafayette, Sam and the other residents Bon Temps deal with vampires, werewolves, fairies, and shape-shifters—not to mention romance and drama